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BOOKS BY RICK RIORDAN
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book One:
The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Two:
The Sea of Monsters
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Three:
The Titan’s Curse
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Four:
The Battle of the Labyrinth
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Five:
The Last Olympian
The Demigod Files

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, illustrated by John Rocco
The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel
The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel
The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel
The Kane Chronicles Book One:
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The Red Pyramid
The Kane Chronicles Book Two:
The Throne of Fire
The Kane Chronicles Book Three:
The Serpent’s Shadow
The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide
The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel
The Heroes of Olympus Book One:
The Lost Hero
The Heroes of Olympus Book Two:
The Son of Neptune
The Heroes of Olympus Book Three:
The Mark of Athena
The Heroes of Olympus Book Four:
The House of Hades
The Demigod Diaries
The Son of Sobek
The Staff of Serapis
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Text copyright © 2014 by Rick Riordan
Illustrations copyright © 2014 by John Rocco
Cover design by Joann Hill
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No
part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval
system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Disney •
Hyperion Books, 125 West End Avenue, New York, New York 10023.
ISBN 978-1-4847-0218-5
Visit www.DisneyBooks.com
www.percyj acksonbooks.com
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Contents
Title Page
Books by Rick Riordan
Copyright
Dedication
Introduction
The Beginning and Stuff
The Golden Age of Cannibalism
The Olympians Bash Some Heads
Zeus
Hestia Chooses Bachelor Number Zero 
Demeter Turns into Grainzilla
Persephone Marries Her Stalker
Hera Gets a Little Cuckoo
Hades Does Home Improvement
Poseidon Gets Salty
Zeus Kills Everyone
Athena Adopts a Handkerchief
You Gotta Love Aphrodite
Ares, the Manly Man’s Manly Man
Hephaestus Makes Me a Golden Llama (Not Really, but He Totally
Should)
Apollo Sings and Dances and Shoots People
Artemis Unleashes the Death Pig
Hermes Goes to Juvie
Dionysus Conquers the World with a Refreshing Beverage
Afterword
List of Illustrations
About the Author and Illustrator
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To my father, Rick Riordan, Sr., who read me my first book of mythology
—R.R.
To my heroes of illustration: N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Arthur Rackham,
and Frank Frazetta
—J.R.
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INTRODUCTION
HOPE I’M GETTING EXTRA CREDIT FOR THIS.
A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about
the Greek gods, and I was like, “ Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t
need the Olympians mad at me again.”
But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with
them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will
be my good deed for the week.
If you don’t know me, my name is Percy Jackson. I’m a modern-day
demigod—a half-god, half-mortal son of Poseidon—but I’m not going to say
much about myself. My story has already been written down in some books that
are total fiction (wink, wink) and I am just a character from the story (cough—
yeah, right—cough).
Just go easy on me while I’m telling you about the gods, all right? There’s
like forty bajillion different versions of the myths, so don’t be all Well, I heard
it a different way, so you’re WRONG!
I’m going to tell you the versions that make the most sense to me. I
promise I didn’t make any of this up. I got all these stories straight from the
Ancient Greek and Roman dudes who wrote them down in the first place.
Believe me, I couldn’t make up stuff this weird.
So here we go. First I’ll tell you how the world got made. Then I’ll run
I
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down a list of gods and give you my two cents about each of them. I just hope I
don’t make them so mad they incinerate me before I—
AGGHHHHHHHHH!
Just kidding. Still here.
Anyway, I’ll start with the Greek story of creation, which by the way, is
seriously messed up. Wear your safety glasses and your raincoat. There will be
blood.
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BEGINNING
STUFF
THE
AND
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N THE BEGINNING, I wasn’t there. I don’t think the Ancient Greeks were,
either. Nobody had a pen and paper to take notes, so I can’t vouch for what
follows, but I can tell you it’s what the Greeks thought happened.
At first, there was pretty much nothing. A lot of nothing.
The first god, if you can call it that, was Chaos—a gloomy, soupy mist
with all the matter in the cosmos just drifting around. Here’s a fact for you:
Chaos literally means the Gap, and we’re not talking about the clothing store.
Eventually Chaos got less chaotic. Maybe it got bored with being all
gloomy and misty. Some of its matter collected and solidified into the earth,
which unfortunately developed a living personality. She called herself Gaea, the
Earth Mother.
I
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Now Gaea was the actual earth—the rocks, the hills, the valleys, the whole
enchilada. But she could also take on humanlike form. She liked to walk across
the earth—which was basically walking across herself—in the shape of a
matronly woman with a flowing green dress, curly black hair, and a serene smile
on her face. The smile hid a nasty disposition. You’ll see that soon enough.
After a long time alone, Gaea looked up into the misty nothing above the
earth and said to herself: “ You know what would be good? A sky. I could
really go for a sky. And it would be nice if he was also a handsome man I could
fall in love with, because I’m kind of lonely down here with just these rocks.”
Either Chaos heard her and cooperated, or Gaea simply willed it to happen.
Above the earth, the sky formed—a protective dome that was blue in the
daytime and black at night. The sky named himself Ouranos—and, yeah, that’s
another spelling for Uranus. There’s pretty much no way you can pronounce
that name without people snickering. It just sounds wrong. Why he didn’t
choose a better name for himself—like Deathbringer or José—I don’t know, but
it might explain why Ouranos was so cranky all the time.
Like Gaea, Ouranos could take human shape and visit the earth—which was
good, because the sky is way up there and long-distance relationships never
work out.
In physical form, he looked like a tall, buff guy with longish dark hair. He
wore only a loincloth, and his skin changed color—sometimes blue with cloudy
patterns across his muscles, sometimes dark with glimmering stars. Hey, Gaea
dreamed him up to look like that. Don’t blame me. Sometimes you’ll see
pictures of him holding a zodiac wheel, representing all the constellations that
pass through the sky over and over for eternity.
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Anyway, Ouranos and Gaea got married.
Happily ever after?
Not exactly.
Part of the problem was that Chaos got a little creation-happy. It thought to
its misty, gloomy self: Hey, Earth and Sky. That was fun! I wonder what else I
can make.
Soon it created all sorts of other problems—and by that I mean gods. Water
collected out of the mist of Chaos, pooled in the deepest parts of the earth, and
formed the first seas, which naturally developed a consciousness—the god
Pontus.
Then Chaos really went nuts and thought: I know! How about a dome like
the sky, but at the bottom of the earth! That would be awesome!
So another dome came into being beneath the earth, but it was dark and
murky and generally not very nice, since it was always hidden from the light of
the sky. This was Tartarus, the Pit of Evil; and as you can guess from the
name, when he developed a godly personality, he didn’t win any popularity
contests.
The problem was, both Pontus and Tartarus liked Gaea, which put some
pressure on her relationship with Ouranos.
A bunch of other primordial gods popped up, but if I tried to name them all
we’d be here for weeks. Chaos and Tartarus had a kid together (don’t ask how; I
don’t know) called Nyx, who was the embodiment of night. Then Nyx,
somehow all by herself, had a daughter named Hemera, who was Day. Those
two never got along because they were as different as…well, you know.
According to some stories, Chaos also created Eros, the god of
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procreation…in other words, mommy gods and daddy gods having lots of little
baby gods. Other stories claim Eros was the son of Aphrodite. We’ll get to her
later. I don’t know which version is true, but I do know Gaea and Ouranos
started having kids—with very mixed results.
First, they had a batch of twelve—six girls and six boys called the Titans.
These kids looked human, but they were much taller and more powerful. You’d
figure twelve kids would be enough for anybody, right? I mean, with a family
that big, you’ve basically got your own reality TV show.
Plus, once the Titans were born, things started to go sour with Ouranos and
Gaea’s marriage. Ouranos spent a lot more time hanging out in the sky. He
didn’t visit. He didn’t help with the kids. Gaea got resentful. The two of them
started fighting. As the kids grew older, Ouranos would yell at them and
basically act like a horrible dad.
A few times, Gaea and Ouranos tried to patch things up. Gaea decided
maybe if they had another set of kids, it would bring them closer….
I know, right? Bad idea.
She gave birth to triplets. The problem: these new kids defined the word
UGLY. They were as big and strong as Titans, except hulking and brutish and
in desperate need of a body wax. Worst of all, each kid had a single eye in the
middle of his forehead.
Talk about a face only a mother could love. Well, Gaea loved these guys.
She named them the Elder Cyclopes, and eventually they would spawn a whole
race of other, lesser Cyclopes. But that was much later.
When Ouranos saw the Cyclops triplets, he freaked. “ These cannot be my
kids! They don’t even look like me!”
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“ They are your children, you deadbeat!” Gaea screamed back. “ Don’t you
dare leave me to raise them on my own!”
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“ Don’t worry, I won’t,” Ouranos growled.
He stormed off and came back with thick chains made from the night sky’s
pure darkness. He bound up the Cyclopes and tossed them into Tartarus, which
was the only part of creation where Ouranos wouldn’t have to look at them.
Harsh, right?
Gaea screamed and wailed, but Ouranos refused to release the Cyclopes. No
one else dared to oppose his orders, because by this time he was getting a
reputation as a pretty scary dude.
“ I am king of the universe!” he bellowed. “ How could I not be? I am
literally above everything else.”
“ I hate you!” Gaea wailed.
“ Bah! You will do as I say. I am the first and best of the primordial gods.”
“ I was born before you!” Gaea protested. “ You wouldn’t even be here if I
didn’t—”
“ Don’t test me,” he snarled. “ I’ve got plenty more chains of darkness.”
As you can guess, Gaea threw a total earthquake fit, but she didn’t see what
else she could do. Her first kids, the Titans, were almost adults now. They felt
bad for Mom. They didn’t like their dad much either—Gaea was always bad-
mouthing him, with good reason—but the Titans were scared of Ouranos and
felt helpless to stop him.
I have to keep it together for the kids, Gaea thought. Maybe I should give it
one more try with Ouranos.
She arranged a nice romantic evening—candles, roses, soft music. They
must have rekindled some of the old magic. A few months later, Gaea gave birth
to one more set of triplets.
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As if she needed more proof that her marriage to Ouranos was dead….
The new kids were even more monstrous than the Cyclopes. Each one had a
hundred arms all around his chest like sea urchin spines, and fifty teeny, tiny
heads clustered on his shoulders. It didn’t matter to Gaea. She loved their little
faces—all hundred and fifty of them. She called the triplets the Hundred-Handed
Ones. She’d barely had time to give them names, though, when Ouranos
marched over, took one look at them, and snatched them from Gaea’s arms.
Without a word, he wrapped them in chains and tossed them into Tartarus like
bags of recycling.
Clearly, the sky dude had issues.
Well, that was pretty much it for Gaea. She wailed and moaned and caused
so many earthquakes that her Titan kids came running to see what was wrong.
“ Your father is a complete __________!”
I don’t know what she called him, but I have a feeling that’s when the first
cuss words were invented.
She explained what had happened. Then she raised her arms and caused the
ground to rumble beneath her. She summoned the hardest substance she could
find from her earthy domain, shaped it with her anger, and created the first
weapon ever made—a curved iron blade about three feet long. She fixed it to a
wooden handle made from a nearby tree branch, then showed her invention to
the Titans.
“ Behold, my children!” she said. “ The instrument of my revenge. I will
call it a scythe!”
The Titans muttered among themselves: What is that for? Why is it
curved? How do you spell scythe?
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“ One of you needs to step up!” Gaea cried. “ Ouranos isn’t worthy to be the
king of the cosmos. One of you will kill him and take his place.”
The Titans looked pretty uncomfortable.
“ So…explain this whole killing thing,” said Oceanus. He was the oldest
Titan boy, but he mostly hung out in the far reaches of the sea with the
primordial water god, whom he called Uncle Pontus. “ What does it mean, to
kill?”
“ She wants us to exterminate our dad,” Themis guessed. She was one of the
smartest girls, and she immediately got the concept of punishing someone for a
crime. “ Like, make him not exist anymore.”
“ Is that even possible?” asked her sister Rhea. “ I thought we were all
immortal.”
Gaea snarled in frustration. “ Don’t be cowards! It’s very simple. You take
this sharp pointy blade and you cut your dad into small pieces so he can’t
bother us again. Whichever of you does this will be the ruler of the universe!
Also, I will make you those cookies you used to like, with the sprinkles.”
Now, in modern times, we have a word for this sort of behavior. We call it
psycho.
Back then, the rules of behavior were a lot looser. Maybe you’ll feel better
about your own relatives, knowing that the first family in creation was also the
first dysfunctional family.
The Titans started mumbling and pointing to each other like, “ Hey, you’d
be good at killing Dad.”
“ Uh, no, I think you should do it.”
“ I’d love to kill Dad, honestly, but I’ve got this thing I have to do, so—”
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“ I’ll do it!” said a voice from the back.
The youngest of the twelve shouldered his way forward. Kronos was smaller
than his brothers and sisters. He wasn’t the smartest or the strongest or the
fastest. But he was the most power-hungry. I suppose when you’re the youngest
of twelve kids, you’re always looking for ways to stand out and get noticed.
The youngest Titan loved the idea of taking over the world, especially if it
meant being the boss of all his siblings. The offer of cookies with sprinkles
didn’t hurt, either.
Kronos stood about nine feet tall, which was runty for a Titan. He didn’t
look as dangerous as some of his brothers, but the kid was crafty. He’d already
gotten the nickname “ the Crooked One” among his siblings, because he would
fight dirty in their wrestling matches and was never where you expected him
to be.
He had his mother’s smile and dark curly hair. He had his father’s cruelty.
When he looked at you, you could never tell if he was about to punch you or
tell you a joke. His beard was kind of unnerving, too. He was young for a beard,
but he’d already started growing his whiskers into a single spike that jutted
from his chin like the beak of a raven.
When Kronos saw the scythe, his eyes gleamed. He wanted that iron blade.
Alone among his siblings, he understood how much damage it could cause.
And as for killing his dad—why not? Ouranos barely noticed him. Neither
did Gaea, for that matter. His parents probably didn’t even know his name.
Kronos hated being ignored. He was tired of being the smallest and wearing
all those stupid Titan hand-me-downs.
“ I’ll do it,” he repeated. “ I’ll chop up Dad.”
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“ My favorite son!” Gaea cried. “ You are awesome! I knew I could count on
you, uh…which one are you again?”
“ Kronos.” He managed to keep his smile. Hey, for a scythe, cookies, and a
chance to commit murder, Kronos could hide his true feelings. “ I will be
honored to kill for you, Mother. But we’ll have to do it my way. First, I want
you to trick Ouranos into visiting you. Tell him you’re sorry. Tell him it’s all
your fault and you’re going to cook him a fancy dinner to apologize. Just get
him here tonight and act like you still love him.”
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“ Ugh!” Gaea gagged. “ Are you crazy?”
“ Just pretend,” Kronos insisted. “ Once he’s in human form and sitting next
to you, I’ll jump out and attack him. But I’ll need some help.”
He turned to his siblings, who were all suddenly very interested in their
own feet.
“ Look, guys,” said Kronos, “ if this goes bad, Ouranos is going to take
revenge on all of us. We can’t have any mistakes. I’ll need four of you to hold
him down and make sure he doesn’t escape back into the sky before I finish
killing him.”
The others were silent. They were probably trying to picture their shrimpy
little brother Kronos taking on their huge violent dad, and they weren’t liking
the odds.
“ Oh, come on!” Kronos chided. “ I’ll do the actual slicing and dicing. Four
of you just need to hold him. When I’m king, I’ll reward those four! I’ll give
them each a corner of the earth to rule—north, south, east, and west. One-time
offer. Who’s with me?”
The girls were too wise to get involved in murder. They made their excuses
and quickly left. The oldest son, Oceanus, chewed his thumb nervously. “ I
have to get back to the sea, for some, uh, aquatic stuff. Sorry…”
That left only four of Kronos’s brothers—Koios, Iapetus, Krios, and
Hyperion.
Kronos smiled at them. He took the scythe from Gaea’s hands and tested its
point, drawing a drop of golden blood from his own finger. “ So, four
volunteers! Nice!”
Iapetus cleared his throat. “ Uh, actually—”
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Hyperion jabbed Iapetus with his elbow. “ We’re in, Kronos!” he promised.
“ You can count on us!”
“ Excellent,” Kronos said, which was the first time an evil genius ever said
excellent. He told them the plan.
That night, amazingly, Ouranos showed up.
He wandered into the valley where he usually met Gaea and frowned when
he saw the sumptuous dinner laid out on the table. “ I got your note. Are you
serious about making up?”
“ Absolutely!” Gaea was dressed in her best green sleeveless dress. Her curly
hair was braided with jewels (which were easy for her to get, being the earth),
and she smelled of roses and jasmine. She reclined on a sofa in the soft light of
the candles and beckoned her husband to come closer.
Ouranos felt underdressed in his loincloth. He hadn’t brushed his hair or
anything. His nighttime skin was dark and covered with stars, but that probably
didn’t count as “ black tie” for a fancy dinner. He was starting to think he
should’ve at least brushed his teeth.
Was he suspicious? I don’t know. Remember, nobody in the history of the
cosmos had been lured into an ambush and chopped to pieces before. He was
going to be the first. Lucky guy. Also, he got lonely hanging out in the sky so
much. His only company was the stars, the air god Aither (who was, in fact, a
total airhead), and Nyx and Hemera, mother and daughter, who argued with each
other every dawn and dusk.
“ So…” Ouranos’s palms felt sweaty. He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea
could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face. “ You’re not angry
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anymore?”
“ Not at all!” Gaea assured him.
“ And…you’re okay with me wrapping our kids in chains and throwing
them into the abyss?”
Gaea gritted her teeth and forced a smile. “ I am okay with it.”
“ Good,” he grunted. “ Because those little guys were UGLY.”
Gaea patted the couch. “ Come sit with me, my husband.”
Ouranos grinned and lumbered over.
As soon as he settled in, Kronos whispered from the behind the nearest
boulder: “ Now.”
His four brothers jumped out from their hiding places. Krios had disguised
himself as a bush. Koios had dug a hole for himself and covered it with
branches. Hyperion had tucked himself under the couch (it was a large couch),
and Iapetus was attempting to look like a tree with his arms out for branches.
For some reason, it had worked.
The four brothers grabbed Ouranos. Each one took an arm or a leg and they
wrestled their dad to the ground, stretching him out spread-eagle.
Kronos emerged from the shadows. His iron scythe gleamed in the starlight.
“ Hello, Father.”
“ What is the meaning of this?” Ouranos bellowed. “ Gaea, tell them to
release me!”
“ HA!” Gaea rose from her couch. “ You gave our children no mercy, my
husband, so you deserve no mercy. Besides, who wears a loincloth to a fancy
dinner? I am disgusted!”
Ouranos struggled in vain. “ How dare you! I am the lord of the cosmos!”
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“ Not anymore.” Kronos raised the scythe.
“ Beware! If you do this, uh…what was your name again?”
“ KRONOS!”
“ If you do this, Kronos,” said Ouranos, “ I will curse you! Someday, your
own children will destroy you and take your throne, just as you are doing to
me!”
Kronos laughed. “ Let them try.”
He brought down the scythe.
It hit Ouranos right in the…well, you know what? I can’t even say it. If
you’re a guy, imagine the most painful place you could possibly be hit.
Yep. That’s the place.
Kronos chopped, and Ouranos howled in pain. It was like the most
disgusting cheap-budget horror movie you can imagine. Blood was everywhere
—except the blood of the gods is golden, and it’s called ichor.
Droplets of it splattered over the rocks; and the stuff was so powerful that
later on, when no one was looking, creatures arose from the ichor—three hissing
winged demons called the Furies, the spirits of punishment. They immediately
fled into the darkness of Tartarus. Other drops of sky blood fell on fertile soil,
where they eventually turned into wild but gentler creatures called nymphs and
satyrs.
Most of the blood just splattered everything. Seriously, those stains were
never going to come out of Kronos’s shirt.
“ Well done, brothers!” Kronos grinned ear to ear, his scythe dripping gold.
Iapetus got sick on the spot. The others laughed and patted each other on
the back.
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“ Oh, my children!” Gaea said. “ I am so proud! Cookies and punch for
everyone!”
Before the celebration, Kronos gathered up the remains of his father in the
tablecloth. Maybe because he resented his eldest brother, Oceanus. for not
helping with the murder, Kronos toted the stuff to the sea and tossed it in. The
blood mixed with the salty water, and…well, you’ll see what came from that
later.
Now you’re going to ask, Okay, so if the sky was killed, why do I look up
and still see the sky?
Answer: I dunno.
My guess is that Kronos killed Ouranos’s physical form, so the sky god
could no longer appear on the earth and claim kingship. They basically exiled
him into the air. So he’s not dead, exactly; but now he can’t do anything but
be the harmless dome over the world.
Anyway, Kronos returned to the valley, and all the Titans had a party.
Gaea named Kronos lord of the universe. She made him a cool one-of-a-kind
collector’s edition golden crown and everything. Kronos kept his promise and
gave his four helpful brothers control over the four corners of the earth. Iapetus
became the Titan of the west. Hyperion got the east. Koios took the north, and
Krios got the south.
That night, Kronos lifted his glass of nectar, which was the immortals’
favorite drink. He tried for a confident smile, since kings should always look
confident, though truthfully he was already starting to worry about Ouranos’s
curse—that someday Kronos’s own children would depose him.
In spite of that, he yelled, “ My siblings, a toast! We have begun a Golden
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Age!”
And if you like lots of lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then
read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.
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GOLDEN AGE
CANNIBALISM
THE OF
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T FIRST, KRONOS WASN’T SO BAD. He had to work his way up to being
a complete slime bucket.
He released the Elder Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed Ones from
Tartarus, which made Gaea happy. The monstrous guys turned out to be useful,
too. They had spent all their time in the abyss learning how to forge metal and
build with stone (I guess that’s pretty much all there was to do), so in gratitude
for their freedom, they constructed a massive palace for Kronos on top of Mount
Othrys, which back then was the tallest mountain in Greece.
The palace was made from void-black marble. Towering columns and vast
halls gleamed in the light of magical torches. Kronos’s throne was carved from a
solid block of obsidian, inlaid with gold and diamonds—which sounds
impressive, but probably wasn’t very comfortable. That didn’t matter to
Kronos. He could sit there all day, surveying the entire world below him,
cackling evilly, “ Mine! All mine!”
A
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His five Titan brothers and six Titan sisters didn’t argue with him. They
had pretty much staked out their favorite territories already—and besides, after
seeing Kronos wield that scythe, they didn’t want to get on his bad side.
In addition to being king of the cosmos, Kronos became the Titan of time.
He couldn’t pop around the time stream like Doctor Who or anything, but he
could occasionally make time slow down or speed up. Whenever you’re in an
incredibly boring lecture that seems to take forever, blame Kronos. Or when
your weekend is way too short, that’s Kronos’s fault, too.
He was especially interested in the destructive power of time. Being
immortal, he couldn’t believe what a few short years could do to a mortal life.
Just for kicks, he used to travel around the world, fast-forwarding the lives of
trees, plants, and animals so he could watch them wither and die. He never got
tired of that.
As for his brothers, the four who helped with the murder of Ouranos were
given the four corners of the earth—which is weird, since the Greeks thought the
world was a big flat circle like a shield, so it didn’t really have corners, but
whatever.
Krios was the Titan of the south. He took the ram for his symbol, since the
ram constellation rose in the southern sky. His navy blue armor was dotted with
stars. Ram’s horns jutted from his helmet. Krios was the dark, silent type. He
would stand down there at the southern edge of world, watching the
constellations and thinking deep thoughts—or maybe he was just thinking he
should have requested a more exciting job.
Koios, the Titan of the north, lived at the opposite end of the world
(obviously). He was sometimes called Polus, because he controlled the northern
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pole. This was way before Santa Claus moved in. Koios was also the first Titan
to have the gift of prophecy. In fact, Koios literally means question. He could
ask questions of the sky, and sometimes the sky would whisper answers.
Creepy? Yes. I don’t know if he was communing with the spirit of Ouranos or
what, but his glimpses of the future were so useful that other Titans started
asking him burning questions like: What’s the weather going to be on
Saturday? Is Kronos going to kill me today? What should I wear to Rhea’s
dance? That kind of thing. Eventually Koios would pass down the gift of
prophecy to his children.
Hyperion, Titan of the east, was the flashiest of the four. Since the light of
day came from the east every morning, he called himself the Lord of Light.
Behind his back, everybody else called him Kronos Lite, because he did
whatever Kronos told him, and was basically like Kronos with half the calories
and none of the taste. Anyway, he wore blazing golden armor and was known to
burst into flames at random moments, which made him fun at parties.
His counterpart, Iapetus, was more laid-back, being the Titan of the west. A
good sunset always makes you want to kick back and chill. Despite that, you
didn’t want to get this guy mad at you. He was an excellent fighter who knew
how to use a spear. Iapetus literally means the Piercer, and I’m pretty sure he
didn’t get that name by doing ear-piercings at the mall.
As for the last brother, Oceanus, he took charge of the outer waters that
circled the world. That’s how the big expanses of water bordering the earth
came to be called oceans. It could have been worse. If Iapetus had taken over the
waters, today we’d be talking about the Atlantic Iapet and sailing the iapet
blue, and that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
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Now, before I turn to the six lady Titans, let me get some nasty business
out of the way.
See, eventually the guy Titans started thinking, Hey, Dad had Gaea for a
wife. Who are we going to have for wives? Then they looked at the lady Titans
and thought, Hmm…
I know. You’re screaming, GROSS! The brothers wanted to marry their
own sisters?!
Yeah. I find that pretty disgusting myself, but here’s the thing: Titans
didn’t see family relationships the same way we do.
First off, like I said before, the rules of behavior were a lot looser back then.
Also, there weren’t many choices when it came to marriage partners. You
couldn’t simply log into TitansMatch.com and find your perfect soul mate.
Most important, immortals are just different from humans. They live
forever, more or less. They have cool powers. They have ichor instead of blood
and DNA, so they aren’t concerned about bloodlines not mixing well. Because
of that, they don’t see the whole brother-sister thing in the same way. You and
the girl you like might have been born of the same mom, but once you grew up
and you were both adults, you wouldn’t necessarily think of her as your sister
anymore.
That’s my theory. Or maybe the Titans were all just freaks. I’ll let you
decide.
Anyway, not all the brothers married all the sisters, but here’s the rundown.
The oldest girl was Theia. If you wanted her attention, all you had to do was
wave something shiny in her face. She loved sparkly things and bright scenic
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views. Every morning she would dance with happiness when daylight returned.
She would climb mountains just so she could see for miles around. She would
even delve underground and bring out precious gems, using her magic powers
to make them gleam and sparkle. Theia is the one who gave gold its luster and
made diamonds glitter.
She became the Titan of clear sight. Because she was all about bright and
glittery, she ended up marrying Hyperion, the lord of light. As you can
imagine, they got along great, though how they got any sleep with Hyperion
glowing all night and Theia giggling, “ Shiny! Shiny!” I don’t know.
Her sister Themis? Totally different. She was quiet and thoughtful and never
tried to draw attention to herself, always wearing a simple white shawl over her
hair. She realized from an early age that she had a natural sense of right and
wrong. She understood what was fair and what wasn’t. Whenever she was in
doubt, she claimed that she could draw wisdom straight from the earth. I don’t
think she meant from Gaea, though, because Gaea wasn’t really hung up on
right and wrong.
Anyway, Themis had a good reputation among her brothers and sisters. She
could mediate even the worst arguments. She became the Titan of natural law
and fairness. She didn’t marry any of her six brothers, which just proves how
wise she was.
Third sister: Tethys, and I promise this is the last “ T” name for the girls,
because even I’m getting confused. She loved rivers, springs, and fresh running
water of any kind. She was very kind, always offering her siblings something to
drink, though the others got tired of hearing that the average Titan needs
twenty-four large glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. At any rate, Tethys
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thought of herself as the nursemaid for the whole world, since all living things
need to drink. She ended up marrying Oceanus, which was kind of a no-brainer.
“ Hey, you like water? I like water too! We should totally go out!”
Phoebe, the fourth sister, lived right in the geographic center of the world,
which for the Greeks meant the Oracle of Delphi—a sacred spring where you
could sometimes hear whispers of the future if you knew how to listen. The
Greeks called this place the omphalos, literally the belly button of the earth,
though they never specified whether it was an innie or an outie.
Phoebe was one of the first people to figure out how to hear the voices of
Delphi, but she wasn’t a gloomy, mysterious sort of fortune-teller. Her name
meant bright, and she always looked on the positive side of things. Her
prophecies tended to be like fortune cookies—only good stuff. Which was fine, I
guess, if you only wanted to hear good news, but not so great if you had a
serious problem. Like if you were going to die tomorrow, Phoebe might just
tell you, “ Oh, um, I foresee that you won’t have to worry about your math test
next week!”
Phoebe ended up marrying Koios, the northern dude, because he also had
the gift of prophecy. Unfortunately, they only saw each other once in a while
since they lived very far apart. Bonus fact: much later, Phoebe’s grandson, a guy
named Apollo, took over the Oracle. Because he inherited her powers, Apollo
was sometimes called Phoebus Apollo.
Titan sister five was Mnemosyne—and, man, with my dyslexia I had to
spell check that name about twenty times, and it’s probably still wrong. Pretty
sure it’s pronounced NEMO-sign. Anyway, Mnemosyne was born with a
photographic memory long before anyone knew what a photograph was.
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Seriously, she remembered everything—her sisters’ birthdays, her homework,
putting out the garbage, feeding the cats. In some ways, that was good. She
kept the family records and never ever forgot anything. But in some ways,
having her around was a drag, because she would never let you forget anything.
That embarrassing thing you did when you were eight years old? Yep, she
remembered. That promise you made three years ago that you would pay her
back that loan? She remembered.
What was worse, Mnemosyne expected everybody else to have a good
memory too. Just to be helpful, she invented letters and writing so the rest of us
poor schmucks who didn’t have perfect recall could keep permanent records of
everything. She became the Titan of memory, especially rote memorization.
Next time you have to study for a spelling test or memorize the capitals of all
fifty states for no apparent reason, thank Mnemosyne. That kind of assignment
was totally her idea. None of her fellow Titans wanted to marry her. Go figure.
Finally, there was sister number six: Rhea. Poor Rhea. She was the sweetest
and most beautiful of the lady Titans, which of course meant she had the worst
luck and the hardest life. Her name either means flow or ease. Both definitions
fit. She always went with the flow, and she totally put people at ease. She
would wander the valleys of the earth, visiting her brothers and sisters, talking
to the nymphs and satyrs who had sprung from the blood of Ouranos. She loved
animals, too. Her favorite was the lion. If you see pictures of Rhea, she almost
always has a couple of lions with her, which made it very safe for her to walk
around, even in the worst neighborhoods.
Rhea became the Titan of motherhood. She adored babies and always helped
her sisters during their deliveries. Eventually she would earn the title the Great
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Mother when she had kids of her own. Unfortunately, she had to get married
before any of that happened, which is how all the trouble started….
Oh, but everything was so great! What could possibly go wrong?
That’s what the Earth Mother Gaea thought. She was so pleased to see her
kids in charge of the world, she decided to sink back down into the earth for a
while and just be, well…the earth. She’d been through a lot. She’d had
eighteen kids. She deserved a rest.
She was sure Kronos would take care of things and be a good king forever
and ever. (Yeah, right.) So she lay down for a quick nap, which in geological
terms meant a few millennia.
Meanwhile, the Titans started having kids of their own, who were second-
generation Titans. Oceanus and Tethys, Mr. & Mrs. Water, had a daughter
named Klymene, who became the Titan goddess of fame. I’m guessing she was
into fame because she grew up at the bottom of the ocean where nothing ever
happened. She was all about gossip and reading the tabloids and catching up on
the latest Hollywood news…or she would’ve been, if Hollywood existed. Like
a lot of folks who are obsessed with fame, she headed west. She ended up falling
for the Titan of the west, Iapetus.
I know, he was technically her uncle. Disgusting. But like I said before, the
Titans were different. My advice is not to think about it too much.
Anyway, Iapetus and Klymene had a son named Atlas, who turned out to be
an excellent fighter, and also kind of a jerk. When he grew up, he became
Kronos’s right-hand man and main enforcer.
Next, Iapetus and Klymene had a son named Prometheus, who was almost
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as clever as Kronos. According to some legends, Prometheus invented a minor
life form you may have heard of—humans. One day he was just messing around
at the riverbank, building stuff out of wet clay, when he sculpted a couple of
funny-looking figures similar to Titans, only much smaller and easier to smash.
Maybe some blood of Ouranos got into the clay, or maybe Prometheus breathed
life into the figures on purpose—I don’t know. But the clay creatures came to
life and became the first two humans.
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